KITE_June 28, 2013 046

Microsoft Accessibility

“Ease of Access Training”

On April, 11, Scott Yaden, enTECH’s occupational therapist conducted a training on the Ease of Access Features of Windows 8 for 38 students in Spalding University’s Occupational Therapy program. In the picture Scott is introducing the on screen keyboard and talking about compatible features such as head pointers that are compatible with the on screen keyboard. Scott provided an overview of the built in accessibility features provided in Microsoft’s new operating system that may be beneficial to the students in their future occupational therapy practice.  Many students commented that they had no idea that so many features were available and for free.

“… so I was blown away by all the adaptations that can be made to a computer to make it fit the needs of a client.”

“Microsoft has gone the extra mile on their computers to allow more people to use them.”

“I thought the Microsoft accessibility options were awesome.  To be able to completely control your computer with your voice is world changing for those with mobility issues. “

Students were asked to reflect on the presentation and discuss how the use of at least one of these features with a client would demonstrate their skill to integrate technology into their daily practice to support activities of daily living (ADL).  As pedagogy would predict when students are learning new information they draw on what they know.  For many of them they related the usefulness of the features they had just learned to family members with disabilities who have difficulty operating a computer.  In one such example a student reflected on the usefulness of being able to modify the mouse:

“Another Accessibility option I think is useful is the mouse speed option (double click speed).  For some reason my father has a hard time double clicking the mouse.  It’s funny because he thinks the harder you press, the faster it should go.  Maybe that’s why he does not like the iPhone.  Anyway, the mouse speed really helped him open up icons on the screen faster.  His dexterity with the left click sometimes makes it frustrating to him and [he] often gives up or waits until I come over.

Sometimes he claims that the mouse is not working but most of the time it is because he has failed to double-click the mouse with the right speed and touch.  The mouse speed option allowed him to open up more icons on his own at the speed and touch he is comfortable with.

Reading the reflections students clearly conveyed a sense of eagerness to share their new knowledge with family, friends and future clients.  Several commented on the importance of what they learned to their future work.

“They [accessibility features] would allow people independence to use their computers which has now become a major part of most of our lives today. By clients being able to use their technology independently, they are less of a burden on their caregivers and have the freedom to browse the web as they would like.”

“The most important thing I think I could teach any client, though, is how to get to the Ease of Access Center. A client with just a little curiosity could figure out a great deal on their own if they knew about these features.”

“By knowing these kinds of options on Microsoft, I could help the client to maximize the abilities that they still possess to their greatest advantage.”

Working with professors and students in the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy is just one of many ways enTECH seeks to fulfill its mission to provide information and assistance on assistive technology in the Kentuckiana region.  Through these educational experiences we hope to enhance the health, wellness, and independence of children and adults with disabilities through the provision of creative assistive technology services and device solutions.